A local man who thought he was luring a 14-year-old girl to his home for sex will serving 120 days in jail after the teen ended up being an undercover TBI agent.
The man, Travis L. King, 37, of McMinnville entered a guilty plea before Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley to the charge of solicitation of a minor to engage in aggravated statutory rape. He was directed to serve 120 days of a three-year sentence and will be required to list himself with the state sexual offender registry for at least 10 years. Exploitation charges were dropped, according to Assistant District Attorney General Tom Miner given the lack of solid evidence to support the charge and given the fact he had no major prior convictions.
According to Miner, the TBI was tipped by a group out of New York called I-Predator that had set up a fake Facebook account in order to catch online predators. The case was taken over by the TBI after King started talking explicitly with a girl he knew only as “Haley Johnson” – someone he believed to be a 14-year-old girl.
“She never actually existed,” Miner noted. “But he believed she did.”
King allegedly asked Haley for inappropriate pictures (the reason for his original exploitation charge) and then suggested she stop by his house for sex as she and her family were reportedly traveling through Warren County on a trip south.
When questioned at his Arms Apartments residence by TBI agents, King first denied the claims.
“After being confronted with the evidence collected from Facebook, he stated that he liked talking to ‘Johnson’ but did not intend to try to have sex with her,” court papers revealed, the agents noting he then tried to apologize for his actions. “He repeatedly said he had messed up and asked if he would be placed on the sex offender registry once he was convicted.”